Hakoah Sydney City East defeated Blacktown Spartans by 3-2 in a highly entertaining Round 14 game of the PlayStation®4 National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s at Hensley Athletic Field.
It was surely one of the best games of the season with great action, superb goals and football of the highest quality from both teams.
If this was an advertisement, then the major beneficiary was undoubtedly football in the state of NSW and there were almost too many highlights to mention.
In the 3rd minute the visitors took the lead. A penalty was awarded when Andre Carle was brought down on edge of the box and the referee had no hesitation in pointing to the spot.
Up stepped Shu Sasaki and he made no mistake despite goalkeeper Anthony Costa diving the right way and the Spartans were off to a good start.
In the 15th minute a free-kick by Jason Trifiro went just wide of the post and the Spartans were unable to add to their early goal from this set play.
In the 24th minute Hakoah Sydney City East equalised. A great cross from the right was met superbly by a header from Adrian Vranic and he opened the scoring ledger for the home side.
Blacktown Spartans then came up with a few chances of their own to regain the lead.
In the 28th minute a good long distance free kick by Yianni Perkatis was well held by keeper Costa and, in the 31st minute, a pinpoint cross from the right reached Sasaki unmarked but his diving header was just wide of the intended target.
In the 35th minute Hakoah came close when Vranic should have scored again when a double chance went begging. His first shot from close range was blocked by Saliadarre’s feet and from the rebound he shot just wide.
However, the home supporters didn’t have to wait too long for their side to take the lead.
In the 38th minute a long ball from the left reached Lee Jones on the right and his diagonal rocket was going nowhere except into the far corner of the net.
Four minutes later and the home side hit the back of the net for a third time.
A delicate ball forward was perfectly weighted for Andre De Jong and he superbly placed the ball in far bottom corner of the goal out of the reach of Saliadarre.
In 44th minute Hakoah came close to scoring their fourth goal. Kevin Lopes floated the ball across to Lee Jones who tried to replay his first goal from virtually the same acute angle, but only a superb Saliadarre diving save to turn the ball away for a corner prevented Hakoah scoring just before the break.
In the second half in the 57th minute a shot from Trifiro from outside the box was on target but Costa got down to his right to make the save without too much hassle.
In the 59th minute Blacktown Spartans came right back into the game when Carle from the by-line fed the ball back for Sasaki who poked it home without too much difficulty for his, and Spartans’, second goal. It was now game on.
In the 66th minute Blacktown Spartans should have taken the lead when Hayden Morton lined the ball up from close range only to be denied by Nathan Bowden-Haase in a full lunge to block the ball.
The game by now was providing some thrilling end-to-end action and up the other end Vranic, in full sprint, tried to chip the out-coming goalkeeper only to see his shot finish just wide of the intended target.
In the 73rd minute Futa Nakamura fired just over the crossbar for the Spartans as both teams were becoming closer to hitting the target in a really open and flowing game. Thrilling for the spectators but surely heart stopping in many ways for both coaches.
In the 79th minute Saliadarre came out and under pressure lost the ball straight into the path of Vranic who volleyed just wide with an open goal. It was really incredible stuff in surely one of the games of the season.
In the 81st minute Kevin Lopes’ header into the ground from two metres out took the slightest of the deflections and went over the crossbar. How it stayed out was a real mystery but such was the contest that an analysis was superfluous because it was there to be enjoyed.
After the game Hakoah’s coach Mark Robertson had a smile from ear to ear.
“It’s terrific and to have all that action in one game is super,” he said.
“It’s super for us too because we came away with three points that, overall, we deserved but both sides did miss chances and there was some good goalkeeping at both ends too.
“I am proud of my boys especially as this was a home game in front of our fans. We were resilient and that makes me very proud because they are a really good bunch of players.”
Over in the Blacktown Spartans dressing room the mood was understandably more sombre.
“I am disappointed with the result because we played some positive football, but in saying that we need to take our chances,” Spartans coach Ben De Haan said.
We probably should have won the game in the second half because we played well and moved well, but that’s how it turns out sometimes.”
Hakoah Sydney City East 3 (Vranic 24’, Jones 38’, De Jong 42’)
Blacktown Spartans 2 (Sasaki 4’ and 59’)
Saturday 11th June 2016
Hensley Athletic Field, Pagewood
Referee: B. Abraham
Assistant Referees: R. Osborne & J. Bell
Fourth Official: M. Herro
Hakoah Sydney City: 1. COSTA Anthony, 3. BLUMBERG Dylan, 5. BOWDEN-HAASE Nathan, 8. ORGAD Paul, 10. GILMARTIN Deklan, 11. RAE Gavin, 33. VRANIC Adrian (5. AKIL Hussein 87’), 14. JONES Lee, 17. MUNDELL Jordan, 23. DE JONG Andre (18. D’MELLO Aaron 66’), 31. LOPES Kevin.
Substitutes not used: 20. MACKENZIE Matthew, 40. BLUMBERG Ryan
Yellow Cards: Gilmartin 29’, Mundell 78’, Bowden-Haase 92’
Red Cards: Nil
Blacktown Spartans: 1. SALIADARRE Carlos, 3.TANNER Joshua, 5. DUKIC Luka, 6. PERKATIS Yianni, 7. SASAKI Shu, 10. NAKAMURA Futa, 14. MORTON Hayden, 15. WHITESIDE Thomas, 16. CARLE Andre (11. CRIGHTON Jordan 87’), 20. TOSI Benjamin, 25. TRIFIRO Jason (9. PROIA Anthony 75’).
Substitutes not used: 2. DULLAK Ogun, 4. QUIGLEY Xavier, 41. NASCIMBEN Domenic
Yellow Cards: Proia 91’
Red Cards: Nil
-by Joe Russo, PlayStation®National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s 1 Reporter, at Hensley Athletic Field, Pagewood